Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come.

A few years ago, a political movement that took the name of “extinction rebellion” would have been wholly unthinkable. On the other hand, after more than forty years of warnings on climate change and ecosystem collapse from the world’s best scientists, the message had to start going through, somehow. One consequence is the appearance on … Continue reading “Human Extinction: An Idea Whose Time had to Come.”

Are the Martyrs Coming Back? Julian Assange and the Fall of the Global Empire

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand (Matthew. 12:25)The more the current world drama unfolds, the more I am amazed by how closely we are following the path that the ancient Roman Empire … Continue reading “Are the Martyrs Coming Back? Julian Assange and the Fall of the Global Empire”

The Great Fossil Cycle and the Story of a Family

Last week, I published a post on how the economic decline of Italy led me to move to a smaller house, abandoning the mansion that my parents had built during better times. Complementing that post, I thought I could repropose a post I had published in 2017, reproduced here with some minor modifications. You can … Continue reading “The Great Fossil Cycle and the Story of a Family”

Climate Science Deniers Start Feeling the Heat. Now it is Foot-Dragging Time!

Greta Thunberg is both a cause and an effect in the great shift that’s ongoing in the public opinion about climate change. Climate science deniers are feeling the pressure and they are preparing to change their strategy. No more denying that AGW exists and that it is a danger for all of us. It is … Continue reading “Climate Science Deniers Start Feeling the Heat. Now it is Foot-Dragging Time!”

The Great Fossil Cycle and US: Story of a Family

Last week, I published a post on how the economic decline of Italy led me to move to a smaller house, abandoning the mansion that my parents had built during better times. Complementing that post, I thought I could repropose a post I had published in 2017, reproduced here with some minor modifications. You can … Continue reading “The Great Fossil Cycle and US: Story of a Family”

New Research Determines the Ultimate Limits of Renewable Energy: The Bardi Sphere

The future of the Earth as described in the new paper by Ugo Bardi. Image sourceA new paper by Ugo Bardi of the University of Florence is in press on the journal “Nature Energy Revolutions.” The study was performed with the support of a European financed project under the Horizon 25-25-25. Using sophisticated simulation tools … Continue reading “New Research Determines the Ultimate Limits of Renewable Energy: The Bardi Sphere”

Why worry about pollution if life expectancy keeps increasing? Ahem…. are you sure?

It seems clear that we won’t get to reach Methuselah’s age. In most Western countries, the average life expectancy has started decreasing from 2014 and we are, maybe, on the edge of a Seneca Cliff for longevity. It could be an effect of pollution, but not just that. Image source.If you ever got into a … Continue reading “Why worry about pollution if life expectancy keeps increasing? Ahem…. are you sure?”

When the Going gets Tough, Women get Going. “MIddle Ages 2.0” and the Great Transformation Awaiting us

In Europe, Greta Thunberg has smashed all the memetic barriers succeeding in doing what nobody else had succeeded before: bringing the climate emergency within the horizon of the public and of the decision makers. In parallel, on the other side of the Atlantic, another young woman, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez has been doing something similar with … Continue reading “When the Going gets Tough, Women get Going. “MIddle Ages 2.0” and the Great Transformation Awaiting us”

The Thunberg Effect Seems to be in Full Swing: Will it Last?

This young lady, Greta Thunberg, is breaking all the memetic barriers: the effect is weak but already evident. Most likely, we’ll see it growing in the coming days. It might be the start of an epochal change in the way the challenges ahead are perceived.On the other hand, expect a reaction from the Powers That … Continue reading “The Thunberg Effect Seems to be in Full Swing: Will it Last?”

The Cryptocurrency of the Middle Ages: Relics

I am re-proposing here a post that I published on “Insurge” about one year ago. It is part of the idea of rediscovering the European Middle Ages not as an age of Barbarism and decline, but as a period of intelligent adaptation to a dearth of resources. Our ancestors of those times faced the problem … Continue reading “The Cryptocurrency of the Middle Ages: Relics”

The real Energy Return of Crude Oil: smaller than you would have imagined

  A simple but important study by Luciano Celi shows what is the real energy return that oil companies manage to attain. Much smaller than you would have believed, in several cases it is today well below 10. Which means that renewable energies already produce a larger EROI than oil and gas. No more excuses … Continue reading “The real Energy Return of Crude Oil: smaller than you would have imagined”

What can we Learn From the Middle Ages About Collapse? The Great Challenge of the Seneca Bottleneck

The idea that a collapse is awaiting our civilization seems to be gaining ground, although it has not reached the mainstream debate. But no civilization before ours escaped collapse, so it makes sense to think that the entity we call “The West” is going to crash down, badly, in the future. Then, just as it … Continue reading “What can we Learn From the Middle Ages About Collapse? The Great Challenge of the Seneca Bottleneck”

What Will Climate Deniers say When the Climate Disaster Arrives?

Image from a fellow CassandraIt is all the fault of the scientists, they didn’t explain to us clearly enough what the problem was.I am sure you alarmists will take this as an excuse to raise new taxes.I couldn’t detect any sea level rise. It was the city that sank.Socialism is bad anyway.It is all a … Continue reading “What Will Climate Deniers say When the Climate Disaster Arrives?”

Winning the War of Climate Communication. Is Greta Thunberg the Memetic Weapon we Needed?

Who speaks on behalf of young people about climate? Greta Thunberg does. She is the embodiment of the concept that what matters in communication is not the message but the messenger. Only a believable messenger can pass a believable message. And she is believable: she has a direct stake on the issue, it is HER … Continue reading “Winning the War of Climate Communication. Is Greta Thunberg the Memetic Weapon we Needed?”

The Seneca Cliff According to H.P. Lovecraft

It is strange how sometimes fiction manages to catch human feelings and ideas in ways that are not easy to articulate in terms of facts and models. H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) has been one of the world masters of the horror genre, managing to flesh out some of our deep fears.We can read Lovecraft’s story “The … Continue reading “The Seneca Cliff According to H.P. Lovecraft”

And now we are Officially Starting to Slide Down the Seneca Cliff: The A380 Goes the way the Concorde Went

And there goes the A380, too. You would think that the European aerospace industry wouldn’t repeat the mistake they made with the Concorde, would they? But they managed not only to repeat it, but too make it bigger.At the time of the Concorde, everyone said that the future was with supersonic passenger planes. At the … Continue reading “And now we are Officially Starting to Slide Down the Seneca Cliff: The A380 Goes the way the Concorde Went”

What’s Emperor Trump Doing? He is Busy at Splitting the Empire in Two

Donald Trump seems to be doing what Roman Emperors like Diocletian, Constantine, and Theodosius did long ago: splitting the empire into two halves. Trump may not have consciously decided to do that, but an Empire can only be as large as it can afford to be and the American Empire can’t afford anymore to dominate … Continue reading “What’s Emperor Trump Doing? He is Busy at Splitting the Empire in Two”

The Sower’s Strategy: Norway Leads the Way Toward the Energy Transition

This is me, Ugo Bardi, in Oslo, February 2019. Norway is the country with the largest fraction of electric vehicles in the world. The Tesla in the background is not mine. I gave the name of “The Sower’s Strategy” or “The Sower’s Way” to the idea that we should use our remaining fossil resources to build … Continue reading “The Sower’s Strategy: Norway Leads the Way Toward the Energy Transition”

The Biodiesel Disaster: Why bad Ideas are Always so Successful?

This is a modified version of an article that was published on “Il Fatto Quotidiano” in Italian on Jan 31, 2019Behind the simian mask, there is yours truly, Ugo Bardi, sitting at his desk.  The sign is in Italian, but you can understand that it is against biodiesel and in favor of Orangutans. Sometimes it happens … Continue reading “The Biodiesel Disaster: Why bad Ideas are Always so Successful?”

Tolstoy on War: The Systemic Vision of a Tragedy

Leon Tolstoy set his novel, “War and Peace” (1867) during the Napoleonic invasion of Russia of 1812. But he had not witnessed that war — rather, Tolstoy had fought in another senseless and bloody war, the Crimean War (1853-1856), an experience that deeply influenced his thought. Tolstoy had a deep vision of the tragedy that … Continue reading “Tolstoy on War: The Systemic Vision of a Tragedy”

The Making of Greta Thunberg: Memetic Weapons for the Meme War

If I say that this young lady, Greta Thunberg, is a meme I mean no disrespect for her — we all are memes! Actually, I think she is a great girl. But the story of how this particular meme was pushed up into becoming an important feature of the planetary memesphere is teaching us so … Continue reading “The Making of Greta Thunberg: Memetic Weapons for the Meme War”

The Decline of Transition Towns: Why do Good Ideas Always Flare up and Then Disappear?

If you don’t know what the Transition Town Movement is, you can take a look at their page, here. It is an interesting idea to increase the resilience of the civilization network by making each node less dependent on other nodes. The figure above shows how the concept of “Transition Towns” flared up in the late … Continue reading “The Decline of Transition Towns: Why do Good Ideas Always Flare up and Then Disappear?”

The Bardi Family During the Great Fossil Cycle.

Last week, I published a post on how the economic decline of Italy led me to move to a smaller house, abandoning the mansion that my parents had built during better times. Complementing that post, I thought I could repropose a post I had published in 2017, reproduced here with some minor modifications. You can … Continue reading “The Bardi Family During the Great Fossil Cycle.”

Who is Cassandra?

A wonderful interpretation of the ancient Trojan prophetess in a performance by the theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder on her always interesting blog “Backreaction” But who was Cassandra? I can tell you that from personal experience. She appeared to me in person — well, as a ghost, actually. Let me reproduce the relation of that encounter as … Continue reading “Who is Cassandra?”

Greta Thunberg Heavily Insulted by an Italian Newspaper. She’s Smashing All the Mediatic Barriers!

The front page of the Italian newspaper “Libero” of April 18. The main title says “La Rompiballe va dal Papa,” translatable as “The pain in the ass Girl goes to see the Pope.” The red text “vieni avanti Gretina” elegantly plays on the similarity in Italian of the diminutive “Gretina” (little Greta) and “cretina” (cretin). … Continue reading “Greta Thunberg Heavily Insulted by an Italian Newspaper. She’s Smashing All the Mediatic Barriers!”

Italy Becoming Poor — Becoming Poor in Italy. The Effects of the Twilight of the Age of Oil

The living room of the house that my parents built in 1965. An American style suburban home, a true mansion in the hills. I lived there for more than 50 years but now I have to give up: I can’t afford it anymore. Let me start with a disclaimer: I am not poor. As a middle … Continue reading “Italy Becoming Poor — Becoming Poor in Italy. The Effects of the Twilight of the Age of Oil”

The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did.

(Image source: Wikipedia) The Devil is sometimes said to be “The Father of Lies.” It is an apt definition for a creature that doesn’t even exist except as a figment of human imagination. Satan is an evil egregore that we ourselves created, a creature that seems to loom larger and larger behind the current chronicles. … Continue reading “The Empire of Lies: How we are collapsing in the same way as the Roman Empire did.”

Climate Change Mitigation: Is it a Good Idea to Sweep the Carbon Under the Carpet?

Above: our paper recently published in Nature Energy. Our conclusion is that, in terms of energy returns, renewable energy in the form of solar or wind is much better than carbon capture and storage for mitigating of climate change. Sweeping the carbon underground is not a good idea. We have a little problem: for more … Continue reading “Climate Change Mitigation: Is it a Good Idea to Sweep the Carbon Under the Carpet?”

Russiagate, Climategate, and the Generalized Godwin’s law

Above: results obtained using “Google Trends” of the meme diffusion of the “Climategate” story of 2009 compared with the recent buzz about Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russian government (“Russiagate”). Both memes show similar search volumes and they may both be subjected to a version of “Godwin’s law” that says that in any political discussion … Continue reading “Russiagate, Climategate, and the Generalized Godwin’s law”